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Private Sector Says New Regulations Trouble Them

By Levan Khutsishvili
Friday, September 28
On September 26, 2018, Business Ombudsman of Georgia Irakli Lekvinadze and President of the Association of Distributors Business Association (GDBA) Iva Chkonia met with representatives of the Association member companies.

Private sector representatives informed the business ombudsman about the problematic issues that already appeared or will appear in future because of the regulations planned by the government. According to the representatives of other businesses, regulations impede them in the process of the entrepreneurial activity. Including "Approval of the Rules for Regulation of Plastics and Biodegradable Bags", which means the prohibition of the manufacture, import and sell less than 15-micron thick plastic bags from October 1, 2018, and from April 1, 2019, complete prohibition of production, selling and import of any plastic bags. Another problematic topic, that was discussed during the meeting was the issue of compulsory electronic marking of non-alcoholic beverages, also Georgian Waste Management Code and the changes in the Georgian legislation on possible restrictions imposed on wheat and wheat flour transportation by automobile vehicles.

"We talked about the new regulations that could cause delays in the business process. The private sector has commented on certain regulations planned by the government. Among them are the terms of limiting the production, import, and sale of plastic bags, and subsequent enforcement of full prohibition. By today's submission, the government adopted a resolution on September 14 and sanctions will enter into force from October 1. We also agree that a two-week period is not enough for distribution companies to sell the products that are already running on the network, and the removal of the product from the network may cause substantial material damage to the companies. The Office of Business Ombudsman will prepare a recommendation on this issue and address the relevant agencies, "said Irakli Lekvinadze.

It is fact that producers and importers of the plastic bags are not prepared for these regulations, though Government sounded initiative in March 2017 and started working on the draft law.

"Ministry has developed a project that prohibits suspension of plastic bags of less than 10 microns from September 1, 2017, and prohibits plastic bags of less than 15 microns from January 1, 2018. The project will be presented to the government, and there may be some changes in deadlines or in the text of the project,"- said Vika Metreveli, main specialist of the Waste and Chemical Substances Management Department, in March 2017.

Deadlines were changed the regulations will start working from October 1, 2018, it means that people involved in this business had more than a year to prepare themselves for changes. Even, according to the head of Waste and Chemical Substances Management Department, they held the meetings with producers and users of plastic bags about the upcoming changes.

“We had a meeting with producers of plastic bags and trade organizations that use these bags. Among them are "Carrefour", "Goodwill", "Smart", "Nikora Supermarket" and so on "- said Alverd Chankseliani.

But besides the business, these regulations have another side: as experts and businessmen say, prohibition of plastic bags will increase the price of production, as Georgian producers of glass and paper bags are not ready also and import of these products cost far more than the plastic production.